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The Hygge Phenomenon

BY John Blase Journal
BY Alex Via

There’s a phenomenon taking our culture by storm right now. Hygge (pronounced hoogah) – is the Danish word for “cozy.” Denmark tops many lists as one of the happiest countries in the world, and the Danes attribute a great deal of their contentment to Hygge. An article in the NYT describes Hygge as “an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, fuzzy knitted socks, porridge, coffee, cake and other people.” It is the popular prescription for helping us all get through this literal and figurative winter. Oh, I almost forgot, consuming bacon is also a key part of Hygge, although the Danes only consume half as much as us Americans (softies).    

 I’ve read up on this a little because stuff like this interests me, why these things catch on, what’s behind the appeal, etc. This one’s not too tough to understand. Instead of going out after work and spending a ton of money on food and drink and whatever, why not stay home in the evenings, get comfortable, and spend time with the people and things that make you feel good? A no brainer, huh? Plus it has that homespun pleasures aspect that will always pluck that nostalgic chord in us whether we grew up that way or not, you know, that “back when times were simpler” stuff.

 The funny thing, to me, is that this is basically the way I’ve been living most of my adult life. I go to work, I do the job I’m paid to do, then I go home and get out of the work clothes as fast as possible (being naked is actually another aspect of Hygge living), then I spend the rest of the evening getting cozier and cozier by way of food, family, and friends. I didn’t know there was a fancy Danish word for this kind of lifestyle, I just thought it was sane living, also known as lazy (pronounced layzee). 

Yeah, little did I know but I was Hygge before Hygge was cool. Now I’ll admit I’m not much into line-dried laundry, or feasting on salt cod fritters and roast lamb, but I’m always open to trying something new to get me through these cold, dark times. So why not give it a try? Head home after work, slip into that Buffalo Jackson flannel you got for Christmas, light a fire or its Hygge equivalent (a candle), fry up a buttload of bacon, and get happier. 

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